Pub landlord Al aims to serve up an Epic show ...

Al Murray is a regular at the Edinburgh Festival and is looking forward to the Pub Landlord's debut in Falkir
Al Murray is a regular at the Edinburgh Festival and is looking forward to the Pub Landlord's debut in Falkir

He’s’s the most famous publican in Britain - and Al Murray’s Pub Landlord is sure to serve a round of bar room humour and controversy to all who visit Falkirk Town Hall on July 30.

Murray’s phenomenally successful comedy creation has been selling out venues for more than ten years and has starred in several hit TV shows.

The Pub Landlord is known for his forthright views and British patriotism - and dislike of all things French or German.

Those still unfamiliar with the character could be forgiven for thinking that this proud little Englander might not be best received by audiences north of the border. But according to Murray, the reality is exactly the opposite.

“It seems the further away you go from the Thames estuary, the more people understand that it’s a gag,” he explains.

With a name like Murray, it’s no surprise to learn that the 44-year-old comedian has Scottish ancestors. But it’s not a fact he regularly raises when performing.

“I’m not an American coming back pretending to be a relative of clan whatever,” he laughs.

“My real connection to Scotland is through the Edinburgh Festival. I first performed there in 1985 when I was still at school, and I’ve pretty much returned each year since.”

It was whilst supporting his close friend and fellow comic Harry Hill 
in 1994 that the Pub Landlord was born.

Since then, the character has evolved through a series of different shows, films, and TV programmes to become one of the most instantly recognisable faces in comedy.

Falkirk fans will be able to enjoy an advance preview of Murray’s new show, ‘The Only Way is Epic’, next week.

“It features a wide variety of subjects,” he says. “It will demonstrate the worst ever government, as well as offering parenting tips.”

The Landlord is renowned for not shying away from an argument - and there’s plenty of contemporary subjects around for him to tackle.

“He’ll definitely be talking about Scottish independence.

“I don’t know if he thinks it’s necessarily a bad thing. Maybe he thinks it’s a relationship that’s run its course.

“Speaking as an outsider, it’s an issue that I find fascinating. It’s a fantastic topic to debate.”

It’s no secret that Murray himself is very different from his Landlord creation. He studied history at Oxford and retains a passionate interest in the subject, even presenting a documentary on 19th and 20th century German culture for BBC4.

“I’m trying to do more. My view on presenting is that I’ll do it if it’s a subject that I find interesting. But I must be asked once a month if I would like to do a documentary on the history of pubs.

“The thing I’d really love to do is an examination of the architecture of the British Empire. It’s fascinating that you can see the same style of art-deco church in Zimbabwe as you can in London - all these weird traces of empire that still remain.”

In the meantime, Murray is busy preparing his new show for a run at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, before starting a nationwide tour the following month.

But comedy is only one of his interests. Murray is also a vocal campaigner for freedom of speech.

Recently, he’s lent his support to a man appealing a conviction and £1000 fine for posting a tweet claiming he would blow an airport “sky high” if it did not re-open in time for him to catch a flight.

Murray, a prolific tweeter himself, has been joined by the likes of Stephen Fry and comedy writer Graham Lineham in campaigning against the conviction of Paul Chambers, arguing that it is against basic principles of free speech and suggesting that the message was simply a bad joke and could not in any way be considered threatening.

“The legal system is behind the times when it comes to dealing with social media. It’s a situation that’s developed very quickly and it has failed to keep up,” he explains.

“I don’t know if the courts necessarily have a role in exposing people as ****heads.

“If you make a stupid remark on Twitter then it’s out there in public, you have exposed yourself.”

It’s a sentiment that the Pub Landlord himself would likely agree with.